Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I go to a different nursing home every day in the St. Paul area. The night before, a truck delivers our equipment to the nursing home. I might see 13 patients a day. I work with dental assistants, nurses and nurses' aides scheduling for the day. We're very flexible with the schedule. We have digital x-rays; can do all kinds of fillings, cleanings, dentures, partials and extractions. We use a regular dental chair that is on wheels, but will also treat patients in their wheelchairs if necessary.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger health care picture?
A: I have to write orders to the nurses, who have to follow them. It's very professional and there are procedures in place for these patients, who are the frailest elderly adults. We focus on seeing people who are underserved and in need.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with patients, nurses, family members, nurses' aides, sometimes physicians or nurse practitioners.
Q: Why did you become a mobile dentist?
A: When I graduated from dental school at the University of Minnesota in 1988, Apple Tree was at the top of the job list and that's what I picked. First I worked part-time there and two days at a regular office. After about five years, I decided that mobile dentistry was for me.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: It's almost like I have my own office at each facility, because I have my staff and equipment with me. I'm in charge of what happens there with my patients and their care. It's more flexible than working in a regular dental office.